Book Review – Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber

Posted March 22, 2012 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA / 4 Comments

Book Review – Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee HieberDarker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Series: Magic Most Foul #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on November 8, 2011
Pages: 336
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Library


I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.


Final Page Thoughts
Dumb, dumb, dumb! *throws book*

First Thoughts
So here’s the story on how I came to obtain this book: I was browsing through the library stacks and I was intrigued by the title and was even more intrigued when I picked it up and saw the cover girl was wearing this gorgeous purple dress. (If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m a huge sucker for anything purple). Yep. That’s my story. Completely necessary addition to my review, I know.

I start reading it and I’m kind of pleased at how it starts: it’s interesting and original sounding and it’s written in the form of diary entries. If someone would have told me it was written in the form of diary entries I would’ve given them a skeptical look and kindly set it aside.

My experience with journal entry-style books have not been pleasant. Plus, I think of how I wrote in my diary when I was a teen: (“Today, I woke up and ate breakfast and then had to take the bus and it was dumb but the day got sooooo much better because Kenny touched my hand when he went to turn his homework in and I’m going to be happy for the rest of this week. I <3 Kenny. Remember not to wash hand.”) Note: Not actual diary entry. Maybe. You can understand my glee at realizing these were well written diary entries. Maybe I set the bar a bit low in comparison.

The Not So Pretty
Like I said, I found the journal entries to be interesting but they turned out to be a requirement as I’m not sure how else you’d tell a story from the POV of a girl who has been mute since she was 4 years old. This girl writes in her diary A LOT… but not all of the entries seemed entirely appropriate.

“I’ve been captured! I know not where I’m going. I’m in a carriage. Heading north, I think. I can write only a quick note.”

Uhh… you’ve been kidnapped and you’ve decided to write in your diary. I think additional comment is unnecessary.

Obviously you’re able to determine from the summary alone that some type of magic-y goodness is involved with lines like ‘He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.’ The magic was lacking in goodness in my opinion. The combination of runes, hieroglyphics, dark magic, and elements related to the Saints was definitely original but ended up being a tad far-fetched and basically a big hot mess. And once it really started snowballing there at the end she totally lost me.

‘…I called upon that sacred vow granted me as a baby, a vow I renewed now as a woman in this moment, a vow to reject the Devil.’

Uhh… sure.

And come on. She’s a mute in the real world but she can speak find in picture world.

‘I could speak in Denbury’s world. It was time I started speaking in this one.’

So she just decides that she wants to speak again? And she does. Sure. That makes PERFECT sense. The way she said it was like she was talking about getting the dishes done, that she’s just been a lazy-ass about it, and she’s decided she’s finally gonna get it done.

The Romance… Oh boy, where to begin. Let’s just say I really had a hard time believing their love. Half the book I kept expecting him to turn out to be a big jerk-face who was just using her to help him get out of the portrait, but, okay.. I was wrong. I still didn’t feel the legitimacy there. View Spoiler »

Do I need to say I won’t be reading the next one? View Spoiler »



4 responses to “Book Review – Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber

  1. Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings

    I agree with you Bonnie, I read this via Netgalley back in October and I gave it a three and that was being generous. I had the hardest time getting into this book, it was boring. It had an interesting concept but I just didn’t enjoy it. I won’t be reading the next one either.

    • Bonnie Regan

      I finished reading this last night and I’m STILL reeling from the disappointment. I was hoping for a goodie here but unfortunately failed to find it.

  2. Sam

    Yikes. I guess you fell victim to the lure of purple. I love purple too. And a purple dress? I would definitely have picked this book up if I say THAT on the cover. 😉

    Shame you didn’t enjoy this as much as you could have, Bonnie. I haven’t read it yet and I probably won’t for a while after all the mixed reviews.

    • Bonnie Regan

      I totally fell victim to the lure of purple. When will I ever learn? 🙂

      It is a shame as I was really looking forward to it, but oh well. Can’t love them all. A lot of people have loved it so I’m glad that some are enjoying it at least.

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